UAE and Israel leaders hold post-accord phone talks

Israeli members of parliament attend the Knesset Plenary Hall session ahead of the vote on the National Law which speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and says they have a "unique" right to self-determination there, late on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 13 October 2020

UAE and Israel leaders hold post-accord phone talks

  • Israel is the only Middle East country flying the advanced warplane and has voiced concern its supply to other nations in the region could jeopardize its military edge

JERUSALEM: Israel’s Cabinet approved a normalization deal with the UAE on Monday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince had spoken and agreed to meet soon.
The US-brokered “treaty of peace” establishing full relations with the Gulf country broke new diplomatic ground in the region, where concern over Iran is
high, even as Palestinians condemned the pact as betrayal of their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied land.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan tweeted on Monday that he and Netanyahu had discussed strengthening bilateral ties and the prospects for peace in the area.
In an official statement that coincided with an Israeli Cabinet vote approving the Sept. 15 agreement with the UAE, Netanyahu said he and Sheikh Mohammed would meet soon.
“At the weekend, I spoke with my friend, the crown prince ... and invited him to visit Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“He invited me to visit Abu Dhabi. But first, we will see a UAE delegation here and another one of our delegations will go there.”
A source familiar with plans for the delegations’ visits said Israeli representatives accompanied by US officials will fly to Bahrain on Oct. 18 and travel on to the UAE the next day before returning to Israel with a UAE team on Oct. 20.

BACKGROUND

The US-brokered ‘treaty of peace’ establishing full relations with the Gulf country broke new diplomatic ground in the region.

Commenting on his conversation with Sheikh Mohammed, Netanyahu said: “We spoke about cooperation that we are promoting in investment, tourism, energy, technology and other spheres.”
In a sign of burgeoning Israel-UAE cooperation, a ship from the UAE docked on Monday at Israel’s port of Haifa, carrying a cargo of 15 containers along a shipping line between India, the UAE, Israel and the US.
While the normalization accord has already inspired commercial deal-making with the Gulf’s trade, finance, tourism and travel hub, Israeli officials have objected to the UAE’s potential purchase of US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets in a separate side deal.
Israel is the only Middle East country flying the advanced warplane and has voiced concern its supply to other nations in the region could jeopardize its military edge.
Israel has also said it would oppose any sale of the plane to Qatar, whose Iran links trouble Israel, after a Reuters report that Doha had submitted a formal request to Washington to buy the Lockheed Martin Corp. stealth jet.
Israeli cabinet approval of the accord with the UAE opened the way for Israel’s parliament to ratify it, in a vote likely to be held later this week.
Israel and Bahrain, which signed a “declaration of peace” at the White House ceremony last month, are still discussing details of a full accord.


Iran again breaks its single-day record for coronavirus deaths

Updated 26 min 3 sec ago

Iran again breaks its single-day record for coronavirus deaths

  • Fatalities have soared in recent weeks, as authorities struggle to contain the virus’s spread months into the pandemic
  • Current spike comes just weeks after schools nationwide welcomed back its 15 million students for in-person instruction

TEHRAN: Iran recorded its worst day of new deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with 337 confirmed dead on Monday.
The grim milestone represents a significant spike from the previous single-day death toll record of 279. The Health Ministry also announced 4,251 new infections, pushing the total count to 534,630.
Fatalities have soared in recent weeks, as authorities struggle to contain the virus’s spread months into the pandemic. Health officials say the capital, Tehran, has run out of intensive care beds.
The Islamic Republic emerged early in the pandemic as a global epicenter of the virus and has since seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, with a death toll that topped 30,000 this week. The government has resisted a total lockdown to salvage its devastated economy, already weakened by unprecedented US sanctions.
As the death toll skyrockets, eclipsing the previous highs recorded in the spring amid the worst of its outbreak, authorities have started to tighten restrictions. The government ordered shut recently reopened schools and universities, as well as museums, libraries, beauty salons and other public places in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.
Underscoring authorities’ contradictory response, the current spike comes just weeks after schools nationwide welcomed back its 15 million students for in-person instruction.
The virus has also sickened senior Iranian officials, including an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and most recently the country’s atomic energy agency and its vice president in charge of budget and planning.
The timing of the pandemic has proved particularly difficult for Iran’s economy. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. The nation’s currency plunged to its lowest-ever level last week following the US administration’s decision last week to blacklist Iranian banks that had so far escaped the bulk of re-imposed American sanctions.